Why We Won't Be Taking a Cruise on Carnival Again

The Carnival Victory Cruise: Well, the best I can say is it was Decent. The crew on board went out of their way to help us, but bottom line, there were things we shouldn’t have had to deal with.

  1. We got a handicapped accessible cabin with a balcony. BUT. Ivylad could not get out onto the balcony in his wheelchair. You had to step over the door sill to get from the room to the balcony. Anna from Guest Services was great, but the first ramp the carpenters built was too steep. The second one worked, as it was more shallow and they built a deck so he could roll out onto the balcony from the ramp. However, you couldn’t shut the balcony door with the deck in place. I had to move it over so he could roll out and move it back when he was done. Anna told us to call guest services any time day or night when we needed it moved. Ivylad wanted to call them every time (to make the point) but I moved it myself a few times.

  2. They confiscated our electric kettle base because it was a fire hazard (despite the fact that it’s self contained and won’t heat up unless the kettle part is sitting on top and the unit switched on) so we ordered hot water every day to make our coffee. The first morning, Ivylad was having trouble pouring and unscrewed the top. The inside was black and nasty and smelled of century old coffee. It looked like it had been used for coffee multiple times and never cleaned. We took it down to Guest Services and the lady there kept insisting it held coffee, when we told her no, it was hot water. Graciously, at dinner in the Atlantic Dining Room, the porter sought us out to apologize and gave us chocolate covered strawberries.

  3. I take a shower one morning and being ecologically conscious, hang up the towel afterward for future use. There was a big brown stain on it. I’m hoping it was rust.

  4. We had Mom Duty on Wednesday as we pulled into Freeport. Mom is ill but still wanted to do the cruise, so we let her sleep in our cabin as the IvySILs did their shore excursion. We did a bit of shopping in Freeport and came back to the cabin to check on Mom.

The key cards wouldn’t work.

I run down to Guest Services to get new key cards, but they wouldn’t work either. While I was gone Ivylad had asked a housekeeper to try, but their key wouldn’t work and they said the battery in the door was dead. I go down to Guest Services again and they send a technician up to change the battery in the door. We get in the room and Mom is still fast asleep.

The food was excellent and I am proud to say I hit my steps and calories burned goal every day. We did have one really sweet thing happen.

On Tuesday, Mom wanted to listen to music after dinner so we went out to the Lido deck for music and dancing. A young man came by yelling, “Help me, help me!” as two young ladies dragged him out to the dance floor. We laughed and said two pretty girls want to dance with you, so go.

A little while later he came up and asked IvySIL to dance. She begged off, saying she had to stay with Mom. So this kid says, “Let’s dance, Mom!” and wheels her out to the dance floor! The kids are whooping and cheering, admiring her nail polish and asking her name. Mom is dancing in her wheelchair and all the kids are copying her killer dance moves. It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.

So overall, the experience was okay, but I don’t think we’ll go on Carnival again any time soon. I got a survey from Carnival and outlined most of our issues. We do know the day we pulled into port they were going right back out again that afternoon. Is that typical of cruise ships? I would think at least a day to make sure the ship is in good condition would be better, but we’re talking a max of what, an hour before they start embarking again?

ivylass; Glad that your Mom could make the trip (I’ve been following your saga).

Sounds like you had your share of difficulties, but it also sounds like the cruise line did everything they could to make it right when you pointed it out. I can say (from nearly a dozen cruises) that I haven’t seen all that many handicapped folks, so it may be that they simply didn’t have the ‘practice’ to do things as well as they should.

And as for the appliances, that is a pretty strict rule on all cruises, any time. They could have done better with the hot water, though.

That’s pretty much standard; get into port early in the morning, discharge your passengers by 10:00am, and start loading for the next cruise a few hours later, sailing about 5PM. Ships sitting in port aren’t making money, so the cruise lines have perfected the fast turnaround–fascinating to watch if you have the opportunity.

Attitude makes all the difference in the world.

I’ve never cruised on Carnival, but after reading the OP, I wouldn’t hesitate to go on their cruise line. Seems like they go above and beyond for their passengers.

Sounds like a great trip. At least compared to one my wife and I had on Norwegian.

It’s spring break right? Lots of kids. Oh, that’s fine, and the ship started to run out of beer. It was 4 deep of college kids at any bar to get a drink. They wouldn’t shoo the kids away. They just stood there and drank and drank.

The food on Norwegian, frankly, sucked. I had one good meal.

There was a medical emergency on board. Heart attack. So, the ship turned east to meet a Coast Guard Helo that flew out of Key West. Full steam ahead. That’s wonderful, but NO ONE would tell the passengers what the heck was going on.

Umm… NOLA is that a’way…

I saw the passenger winched off the ship, along with his wife.

The ship limped to NOLA after the evacuation of the passenger (he died). I think that they burned to much fuel on the dash. Or, one engine was now out of commission. Nobody knows.

It’s wonderful that they did SO much to try to rescue the passenger, but everyone on the ship was left completely in the dark as to what the heck was going on. Instead of cheering their efforts to help the passenger, we only could wonder what in the hell was going on.

I don’t get the coffee thing. Of course cooking devices aren’t allowed in cabins. I was only on one 7-day Princess cruise once a while ago, but as a certified coffee addict, I could have a carafe delivered to the cabin at any time, or I could go to multiple serving areas and get coffee any time, plus of course with every dining service. It never crossed my mind to even think about making coffee in my cabin, it was always available.

Your complaints would not dissuade me from a Carnival cruise should the opportunity arise.

Don’t Wash That Coffee Mug!

Not the same, but the first thing I thought of.

I thought it impressive that they sent up a carpenter to build a ramp and a deck.

Did you reserve an accessible cabin? It sounds like you got either a standard or what Carnival calls a “modified” cabin. Accessibles are pretty much first come, first serve.

Beyond that, batteries die and hot water or coffee is easily found or requested. Someone goofed and grabbed a coffee thermos instead of a hot water one.

Also, be aware that avoiding Carnival will mean avoiding about half the entire cruise industry as they’re the parent corporation to many brands.

Same day turn-around on a ship is standard. My parents love cruising, and often do back-to-back passages on a trip. They left today from Fort Lauderdale, cruising to San Diego and back - through the Panama Canal both ways. There is always a collection of people who are staying on the ship for the changeover day. They are typically asked to go to a particular lounge, and given a nice lunch and other goodies. That gives the staff time to do the cleaning and such.

For the other issues - it does sound unfortunate. There should be a preventative maintenance cycle on the batteries. Crap happens. If it’s one or two things, then I judge the company by how well the handle it. If it’s a lot, then I start to think it’s a business model.

Very glad to hear that MIL got her cruise!!

As to the rest … there’s a reason Carnival is commonly called “The KMart of the Caribbean.”

I’ve known people who refuse to cruise with Carnival because they say the passengers tend to be rowdier than on other ships. I also heard from a couple of my mom’s friends about having stuff stolen on Carnival, altho if you leave your stuff unattended on a deck chair, you can’t expect it to be there when you come back.

Personally, I decided to hate them because I couldn’t stand Kathy Lee Crosby doing their commercials way back when. :smiley:

My mom and I cruised on Princess and while they screwed up a number of things with our reservations - like claiming we’d just made them the day before when we’d been booked over a year ahead, then losing our excursion reservations - anyway, overall, it was a great trip. It just didn’t start out well. I expect with thousands of passengers, a few are bound to have issues of one type or another. It’s like going to a great restaurant and getting a server who’s having a bad attitude day - it’s hard not to let it color your perception of the whole organization.

I’ve been on 5 Carnival cruises. On the first one, my wheeelchair-bound mother-in-law cruised with us. We had requested a handicapped-access room with balcony, but were not assigned to one. After notifying the desk, they immediately re-assigned us to a handicapped designated room.

There was a bump to roll over to access the balcony, but it took very little effort and strength. I can’t imagine it being a problem.

The fact that they actually built a ramp for you sounds like outstanding customer service to me. Your other complaints, as addressed above by others, seem unreasonable.

Call me an ass, but these are such first world problems. They sent CARPENTERS to BUILD a ramp? Jesus H Christ, did you expect them to set the ship ablaze and immediately replace it in that exact time and place with a zero-mile full ADA replacement?! They bent over backwards to accommodate you!

As I understand it, the ADA requires high toilet seats, handrails on the bathtub or a roll-in shower, and enough space between the bed and the walls for a wheelchair to maneuver. On a ship at sea, I would suspect that watertight exterior doors are a higher priority than wheelchair access. Sending a carpenter to add a ramp is far more than most hotels would do for you.

Cooking appliances are prohibited on general principles, by government inspectors and insurance companies. Everybody thinks, “MY appliance will never cause a fire!” And, of course, they are right . . . until they’re not. On a ship at sea, crowded with passengers, fire hazards are not something to take chances with.

Dead batteries in door locks is a perennial problem in hotels. If you do much traveling, sooner or later, it will happen.

I would say that everything in the OP other than the stained towel is a glowing endorsement for this cruise line. They are required to give you access to the bathroom, the bed, etc. but not the balcony. They are required to have water proof doors to any outside area which pretty much prevents not having any kind of track at ground level. The fact that they custom built you not one, but two ramps and a deck shows that they went way beyond what most would expect. You said you were tempted to call guest services any time you needed it moved… from your post it sounds like they would have been happy to accommodate those requests. Remember you were on a ship and not in a hotel.

The hot water kettle is just ridiculous. You will never find any cruise line that will allow you to do this.

I can only compare this to our first cruise, to Alaska on Norwegian, where we also had a wheelchair accessible cabin, with a ramp out to the balcony that did not involve moving it back and forth. They also had electric kettles in our cabin.

These may be first world problems, but my husband spent an hour on the phone with Carnival when making the reservation to ensure a wheelchair accessible cabin and we had to fill out paperwork with details on his mobility. We paid good money for this trip and I would expect to get our money’s worth.

I can understand if they needed to confiscate our electric kettle for safety purposes. However, my husband and I enjoy making our own coffee and brought our own beans, grinder, and French Press. All we needed was some hot water. Is it too much to expect the water be delivered in clean carafes?

As far as the door key goes, we were stressed out over it because my ill MIL was sleeping in the cabin and we needed to check on her. Having the door battery die was not something we expected, nor in all my travels have I ever encountered such a thing. Maybe I’ve been lucky.

As I said, the crew was incredibly helpful and I noted that in the survey, naming those crew members who went above and beyond. My point is these are not problems we should have had to deal with. If you want to continue the pile-on, go ahead. I don’t think expecting value for my money is unreasonable.

Gifford, not Crosby.

I re-read the OP, and honest to Jeebus it sounds like a whoosh.

I don’t think I’ve ever taken a vacation without problems to solve or obstacles to overcome. These seem terribly minor and get-over-able.

I think that was the woosh.

If everyone thinks you’re unreasonable, you might want to reevaluate your position.